Isaiah 53:3-4 (NLT)
3 He was despised and rejected� a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. 4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins!
The prophet, in the close of the former chapter, had foreseen and foretold the kind reception which the gospel of Christ should find among the Gentiles, that nations and their kings should bid it welcome, that those who had not seen him should believe in him; and though they had not any prophecies among them of gospel grace, which might raise their expectations, and dispose them to entertain it, yet upon the first notice of it they should give it its due weight and consideration. Now here he foretels, with wonder, the unbelief of the Jews, notwithstanding the previous notices they had of the coming of the Messiah in the Old Testament and the opportunity they had of being personally acquainted with him. [Matthew Henry Commentary]
In May 2009, my family was in Azusa, California, because one of our kids was graduating from Azusa Pacific University. My wife, Nancy, was going to speak at the commencement ceremonies, so she and I were invited to a special gathering of about 50 people�people from the graduating class of 50 years ago and a few faculty members. During the gathering, John Wallace, the president of APU, brought out three students who were graduating that year and told us that for the next two years, they were going to serve the poorest of the poor in India.
These three students thought they were there just to be commissioned and sent out with a blessing�which they were. But then something happened that they did not know was coming. John turned to them and said, "I have a piece of news for you. There's somebody you do not know�an anonymous donor�who is so moved by what you're doing that he has given a gift to this university in your name, on your behalf."
John turned to the first student and said, "You are forgiven your debt of $105,000." The kid immediately starts to cry. John turns to the next student: "You're forgiven your debt of $70,000." He then turns to the third student: "You are forgiven your debt of $130,000." All three students had no idea this was coming. They were just ambushed by grace�blown away that somebody they don't even know would pay their debt. The whole room was in tears. [John Ortberg, in the sermon "Patch 'Em," Menlo Park Presbyterian, Menlo Park, California (preached 5-17-09)]
Isaiah tells us �Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins!� Innocent, Jesus carried to the cross the sins that we, the guilty, committed. And there at the cross Jesus died with those sins so that we would have mercy and grace from those sins. Fortunately the story doesn�t stop there for Christ rose back to life, a beautiful eternal life that we can all inherit by a willingness to turn from our sin and placing our lives and our faith in Christ; who will welcome us into heaven when we leave this earthly realm.